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Liverpool owners considered 'eight per cent' ticket price rise
Published : 23 Sep 2009 13:47:53
American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks paid £50 million pounds in July for a 12-month extension on loans they used to buy the club in their February 2007 takeover. Liverpool owe around £290 million to their bankers, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia, while Hicks and Gillett have proved deeply unpopular with supporters for their failure to clear the debt and begin work on a proposed new 72,000-seat stadium. However, the owners stopped short of raising ticket costs that could have proved incendiary during a recession, with the majority of Premier League clubs putting a freeze on season ticket prices. Rogan Taylor, director of the Football Industry Group at Liverpool University and a member of a supporter-led group trying to acquire the club, said: “It would have been a very unpopular move... It looks like they took some wise advice not to do it.” Gillett and Hicks also considered raising £100 million by selling equity in the club, according to documents prepared by the club’s bankers and obtained by Bloomberg News. A spokesman for Hicks and Gillett declined to comment but verified the documents which indicate that all but £5m of the £100m the club was trying to access would have gone toward reducing debt. Liverpool last week announced a record shirt sponsorship with the Standard Chartered bank, worth £20m a season for the next four years. That figure matches the money that would be made available to manager Rafael Benitez in the transfer market. The £20m “will grow together with increases in broadcast revenues,” the document said.